As we approach the hype bonanza that will be Michigan vs. Ohio State, the BCS title picture is no clearer than it was weeks ago. Entering Saturday, it appeared that the Longhorns would have the inside track to Glendale to face the winner of UM-OSU. Enter Kansas State. Exit Texas. Same fate for Auburn vs. Georgia. And California vs. Arizona. And Florida vs. South Carolina ... no wait the Gamecocks choked on that one.
So now, the list of possible opponents for the Big Ten champion has changed. Will it be the Southern California Trojans, the Fighting Irish, the Razorbacks, or the Gators? Well, as fate would have it, Florida will play Arkansas, and Notre Dame will play Southern California.
Even so, there could be controversy. Some experts are projecting a close decision between Michigan and Ohio State, leading to a rematch in Glendale for the BCS Championship. I don't see this as a likely scenario, as the coaches will not vote this way, and the computer advantage over the one-loss teams that the loser of that game has held will be nullified.
Even still, there could be controversy. Should two of the four once-beaten title contenders win out, which one gets to go to the title game? I don't know. You don't know. Mark May certainly doesn't know. Thank you once again, BCS, for turning college football into figure skating.
Gerry's BCS Projections
BCS National Championship Game
Glendale, AZ (Jan. 8, 2007)
Michigan (12-0) vs. Notre Dame (11-1)
Prediction: Michigan thumped the Fighting Irish in September, thanks to plenty of turnovers. This won't happen a second time. Brady Quinn and the Irish offense move the ball somewhat effectively against a stout Michigan defense. However, the Irish front seven let Mike Hart run all day, opening the passing game for Chad Henne. Michigan 27 - Notre Dame 17
New Orleans, LA (Jan. 3, 2007)
Arkansas (11-2) vs. West Virginia (11-1)
Prediction: It's easy to sell the Big East short based on their lack of competition throughout the season. Just last year, the Mountaineers faced SEC champion Georgia as a hefty underdog and pounded the stuffing out of the Dawgs. Steve Slaton is explosive. However, West Virginia's defense is very ordinary, and Arkansas is a well-rounded football team. Arkansas 31 - West Virginia 20
Miami, FL (Jan. 2, 2007)
Wake Forest (11-2) vs. Florida (11-2)
Prediction: This game will be closer than one would expect based on looking at the matchup. Wake Forest is actually pretty good. Florida is overrated. That said, this is still a mismatch. Florida 28 - Wake Forest 13
Glendale, AZ (Jan. 1, 2007)
Nebraska (10-3) vs. Boise State (12-0)
Prediction: Texas' reeling down the stretch opened the door for Nebraska to make their first BCS appearance since an embarrassing loss to Miami in the national championship game in the 2001 season. Boise State makes its first-ever BCS appearance, which brings tears to the eyes of the Fiesta Bowl committee ... not ones of joy. Jared Zabransky and Ian Johnson cut loose on the Huskers, shocking the college football world. Boise State 34 - Nebraska 24
Pasadena, CA (Jan. 1, 2007)
Ohio State (11-1) vs. Southern California (10-2)
Prediction: This could well be the national championship matchup, rather than the Rose Bowl game. Southern California is strong on both sides of the ball, but are no match for Troy Smith, Tedd Ginn, and the rest of the Buckeye assassains. Ohio State 38 - Southern Cal 21
How I Came to this Conclusion:
1) Arkansas loses to LSU, defeats Mississippi State, and defeats Florida in SEC title game.
2) Florida runs regular-season table, but loses to Arkansas in SEC title game.
3) Notre Dame defeats Army and Southern California.
4) Michigan defeats Ohio State.
5) Ohio State loses to Michigan.
6) Southern California defeats Cal and UCLA, but loses to Notre Dame.
7) Boise State defeats Utah State and Nevada.
8) West Virginia defeats Rutgers and wins out. The Big East finishes in a three-way tie, but West Virginia gets the automatic bid by virtue of the highest BCS ranking.
9) Wake Forest loses to Virginia Tech, but defeats Maryland and Georgia Tech.
10) Nebraska defeats Colorado and Texas.
1) BCS title game selects #1 Michigan vs. #2 Notre Dame.
2) ACC champion Wake Forest to Orange Bowl
3) Pac-10 champion Southern California to Rose Bowl
4) SEC champion Arkansas to Sugar Bowl
5) Big XII champion Nebraska to Fiesta Bowl
6) Rose Bowl compensated for loss of Big Ten champion with first pick. They choose Ohio State to maintain the Big Ten-Pac-10 rivalry.
7) Sugar Bowl has second pick. They choose West Virginia over Florida and Boise State.
8) Orange Bowl has third pick. They choose Florida.
9) Fiesta Bowl has fourth pick. They must choose Boise State.